Thu 22 Aug 2019

New Legislation, Guidance & Consultations - September 2019

Two significant consultations have been published in the last month.

Following on from the Good Work Plan, the UK Government has published a consultation on establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights.  The consultation will look at the case for a new single labour market enforcement body and whether this could deliver:- 

  • extended state enforcement (in addition to the NMW/NLW, holiday pay and other enforcement already carried out);  

  • a recognisable single brand so individuals know where to go for help;

  • better support for businesses to comply with rules;

  • co-ordinated enforcement action to tackle the spectrum of non-compliance;

  • pooled intelligence and more flexible resourcing; and

  • closer working with other enforcement partners such as immigration enforcement, benefit fraud and health and safety. 

Views are also sought on the core remit of a new body, interaction with other areas of enforcement, the approach to compliance and the powers such a body will need.  The consultation closes on 6 October 2019.

 This consultation is timely as the Women and Equalities Committee has also published a report on enforcement of the Equality Act 2010 suggesting it is no longer fit for purpose. The report calls for the burden of enforcement of the Act to be shifted away from the individual, and criticises the effectiveness of the Equality and Human Rights Commission calling it timid and recommending it be bolder in the use of its enforcement powers.   

The UK Government has also launched a consultation paper on new legislation designed to tackle the problem of "ill health related job loss".  The Government describe the proposals as supporting and encouraging early action by employers for their employees with long term health conditions.  Amongst other things it seeks views on employers having to support those with health conditions who are not covered by the Equality Act 2010 to stay in employment and the introduction of a right for employees to request workplace modifications in circumstances where they are not covered by the Equality Act.  It also looks at reviewing the current system of SSP and encouraging a significant increase in OH specialists and an improvement in standards.  The consultation closes on 7 October.  We are intending to respond to this consultation.  Should anyone wish their views to be taken into account they can respond directly or feed them in to us and we will reflect the various views in our response.  For more on this, read our blog on whether these proposals are a step too far.

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